With Nintendo’s recent announcement of both N64 and Sega Genesis classics coming to Nintendo Switch Online as an “Expansion Pack,” the long-term effects on the retro resale market are yet to be seen; however, Nintendo’s commitment to their emulation services has been thoroughly upheld via the NES and SNES libraries currently available. While the libraries are far from complete, they have been maintained and consistently grown with some of the most popular titles for each console generation. Games run perfectly and I can sleep better at night knowing that Nintendo won’t come crashing through my door looking for the ROMs I definitely don’t have. I suspect that the same quality and playability will be seen for N64 and Sega Genesis on the service. If there’s one thing Nintendo does right, it’s making sure that user experiences are polished no matter how long it takes.
Classic game and console prices are increasing at an exponential rate with the rise in popularity of retro gaming. The unfortunate reality of this inflated demand is the subsequent boom in prices.
While a steady rise in value is expected, the extreme inflation seen with the onset of the pandemic paired with the injection of retro video games into the popular market (thanks in part to a loathsome amateur boxer…) is prone to continued increase and instability. So there I was watching another Nintendo Direct, sitting patiently waiting for the market to collapse so I could get my hands on a copy of Twilight Princess for something under my current rent payment when Nintendo announced that N64 and Sega Genesis were coming to Nintendo Switch Online. The gears started turning. If the only current way to play OOT or StarFox 64 was either to sell my child to play on my taped-together N64 or to *cough* pirate *cough* ROMs, then Nintendo offering a convenient and modernized way to play could be a HUGE game-changer.
Tinfoil hat time. The widespread success of Nintendo’s online service could usher in change for the retro video game market. Increased availability of a convenient and Nintendo-supported system to play classic games inherently reduces the demand for physical copies of those games (collectors notwithstanding) for people that want a quick injection of nostalgia in an easy and safe way. I personally think that if Nintendo executes the addition and growth of N64 and Sega Genesis to their online platform well enough, the hyperinflation in the retro gaming market may slow and eventually return to a more stable linear increase seen with fixed-supply goods.
BONUS: Nintendo also announced new controllers to further empty my wallet.